The New York Mets may not be in the pennant race, but they appeared to be swayed on a Tuesday night without even playing a game.
Miami Marlins officials were angry that their game against the Mets at Citi Field was postponed due to unplayable field conditions. The final rain from Tropical Storm Ophelia stopped around 5 p.m., but despite the efforts of the Mets’ ground crew to make the field playable, the game was called shortly after 8 p.m.
For the Marlins, who currently trail the Cubs by a half-game for the third wild-card spot in the NL, rescheduling the game as part of Wednesday’s doubleheader could have major implications. Left-hander Braxton Garrett, the best remaining player in Miami, was scheduled to play Tuesday night. Instead, he will play in the first game on Wednesday, leaving him unable to start Sunday’s season finale unless he returns on three days’ rest.
Marlins officials, who were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor, were told that the playing surface problem at Citi Field arose because the Mets’ ground crew did not cover the field on Saturday, the first of four straight days of rain. The team was playing in Philadelphia at the time.
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The grounds crew eventually put up a tarp, but water seeped under it, creating a mess. The pitch took up so much water from Saturday to Monday, the grounds crew did not have enough of a dry period to return the pitch to playable condition on Tuesday. Both clubs and the commissioner’s office then decided that the best course of action was to postpone, citing the safety of the players and the importance of the game. Mets general manager Billy Eppler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Marlins (81-75) are one of the season’s biggest surprises, overcoming several injuries and a bottom-five offense to remain in contention for their first postseason berth in a full season since their World Series title in 2003. They will play three games . against the Mets the next two days, then finish their season with three at Pittsburgh.
After Garrett’s start in Wednesday’s opener, the Marlins will use their bullpen in the Night Cup. Currently without two of their top starters, right-hander Sandy Alcantara (right LCL sprain) and Yuri Perez (left iliopsoas arthritis), they are relying on Garrett and fellow lefty Jesús Luzardo to carry them along the way. And now Garrett’s readiness for the end of the season may be in jeopardy.
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(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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